Intravascular Lithotripsy, also known as IVL, is an evidence-based medical procedure that uses sonic waves to break up calcifications in the blood vessels, which includes the arteries. The procedure is done to treat vascular conditions whereby the said blood vessels have narrowed or blocked as a result of calcification build-up.
What is Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease is a set of conditions that affect the network of blood vessels outside the heart which circulate blood and oxygen throughout the entire body. These vessels include the capillaries, veins, and arteries. When these network of blood vessels become affected by either narrowing or blockage, which disrupts the flow of blood, as a result of build-up of calcifications and cholesterol, then there would be a high probability of disability and even death. These vascular conditions can present themselves anywhere in the body.
Symptoms of Vascular Diseases
Although blocked or narrowed blood vessels don’t cause any major symptoms in most vascular disease cases, sometimes some mild symptoms may present themselves. These include:
- Weakness or numbness of the
- Change in colour of the legs
- Pain on the feet while resting
- Painful cramps on the hips or legs (claudication)
- Sores on the feet or legs that are unable to heal or heal poorly
- Erectile dysfunction
- Breakdown and death of tissue, also known gangrene
- Coolness or tingling of the foot
- Inability to move the feet
Diagnosis of Vascular Disease
Diagnosis of vascular disease usually involves a physical examination by a vascular specialist. And since most of the conditions presented by vascular disease may not show any symptoms, a vascular screening, which includes blood tests and imaging tests, is recommended especially of you are at risk of vascular disease. This includes:
- Having a family history of vascular disease
- Being 55 years or older
- Having high cholesterol
- Being a smoker
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
Treatment of Vascular Disease with Vascular Lithotripsy
Vascular lithotripsy is considered a fairly safe and effective form of treatment for vascular diseases, whereby the blood flow has been affected by heavy build-up of calcification and cholesterol in the blood vessels.
Vascular lithotripsy procedure, which is also used to break up kidney and bladder stones uses shockwaves to break up the said calcium build-up. It is an out-patient procedure that is done under full general anaesthesia or light sedation.
During the procedure, a deflated ‘balloon’ is inserted into a calcified blood vessel, then inflated to fill up the blood vessel. Pulsatile energy is then sent through a connector cable from a generator to the balloon. As a result, the saline solution in the balloon starts to evaporate, which increases the balloon’s pressure, before condensation. The controlled shockwaves sent through the connector cable then cause micro fractures the calcium build-ups without causing any injury to the surrounding soft tissues.
At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service, from initial consultation through to final diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. Our team of expert doctors and nurses are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.
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